The Women's Foundation of California | Team - The Women's Foundation of California

Team

Agnes Abenojar (she/her),
Director of Finance

Agnes Abenojar (she/her),
Director of Finance

Across a variety of fields, Agnes has always put exactitude at the top of the list in her accounting duties. The numbers must match, and she is unafraid to spend tireless hours poring through the details to decipher numerical puzzles. Agnes has worked in fields as varied as youth development, housing, real estate, and for the firm that manages Oracle Arena. Agnes enjoys good food, relaxing music, and spending time with her teenage daughter. Agnes is constantly seen with a smile on her face – a sign of another accounting mystery solved, perhaps?

Elizabeth Ayala (she/her),
Program Manager, WPI-Local

Elizabeth Ayala (she/her),
Program Manager, WPI-Local

Elizabeth is passionate about developing authentic & powerful leaders. In her current role as a Program Manager at the Women’s Foundation of California, she is the lead facilitator for the Women’s Policy Institute-Local fellowship.  She is also a graduate of the inaugural WPI-Local (then known as WPI-County) class. Previously, she worked as a community organizer, a health education coordinator, a consultant, and research assistant. Through all of these roles, she has conducted over a hundred leadership & advocacy trainings in both English & Spanish. In her role as a community organizer, she led various leaders to change policy at the local & state level.

Elizabeth has also raised over $10,000 in community fundraisers and online campaigns, with most donations coming in under $35, for diverse causes across the inland region of Southern California. She is the daughter of immigrants and a first generation college graduate with a Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University. In collegeshe conducted international field research in El Salvador and wrote her thesis on the impact of migrant monetary remittances on Salvadoran household economic decisions. She received the Stanford Center for Teaching & Learning’s Best Thesis Presentation award. Elizabeth loves karaoke & is an alto singer in the Riverside Revival Resistance Chorus.

Libby Benedict (she/her),
Program Manager, WPI Alum Networks

Libby Benedict (she/her),
Program Manager, WPI Alum Networks

After a year with the justCARE Campaign working to advance SB 24 – the College Student Right to Access Act – through the state legislature, Libby is proud to support the Women’s Policy Institute (WPI). A Class of 2008 alum, she is responsible for providing leadership to the WPI and key partners to plan and implement the vision and strategy of the Foundation related to alum engagement.

Libby is a native San Franciscan with expertise in community organizing, capacity building, and program design and management. Before joining the Women’s Foundation, she spent nearly 12 years with Physicians for Reproductive Health, directing their Leadership Training Academy, a national program that prepares physicians to become self-directed leaders in reproductive health advocacy. During her tenure, the Academy increased in scope from the original class of 20 fellows to 300+ alum working in 9 medical specialties representing 43 states and DC. As a member of the successful Campaign for Teen Safety to defeat Prop 4 – the 2008 Parental Notification Initiative – Libby conducted advocacy skills/education trainings for the California medical community, reaching nearly 1,000 physicians, residents, and medical students. In collaboration with the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Libby designed and facilitated the first in a series of CME programs aimed at increasing the number of providers trained in early abortion methods and long-acting reversible contraception.

Libby has a BA in Sociology/minor in Criminology from UCLA, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Golden Gate University. She currently serves as the Advisory Board Chair for TEACH (Training in Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare), and as a planning director for the California Abortion Alliance (CAA). On the weekends, Libby likes to host Sunday Night Family Dinners for her daughters and their families, and argue about politics and the human condition with her husband, Mike.

Clanci Cochran (she/her),
Executive Administrator

Clanci Cochran (she/her),
Executive Administrator

Clanci joined the Foundation in 2019 and is responsible for overall administration and operations for the Foundation including executive support for the CEO and the Board of Directors. Before joining the Foundation, Clanci worked at Reading Partners, first as a Senior Admissions Manager and then as Human Resources and Talent Manager. Prior to that she held several positions at City Year Sacramento as a Development Operations Manager and as a Recruitment Coordinator and at City Year Seattle as an Operations Manager and Interim Recruitment Director. Clanci holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Spelman College and is currently enrolled in a Masters in Divinity and Community Leadership Program at American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley.

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Mazuri Colley (she/her),
Development & Database Manager

Mazuri Colley (she/her),
Development & Database Manager

As the Development & Database Manager on the Development Team, Mazuri works closely with colleagues in Program, Communications and Finance, and across communities of Foundation donors, board members, grant partners, WPI fellows and alums and on event campaigns.

Before joining the Women’s Foundation of California, she was a Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge (our database) trainer and instructor helping organizations and development departments all across the sector (and across the country!) manage strong, effective database systems and build and maintain strong relationships with donors and supporters. She’s led hundreds of webinars and in-person workshops and her students and colleagues have raved about her brilliant teaching, her warmth and her humor.

Previous to her work as a trainer, Mazuri was a Development Coordinator and Marketing/Communications Associate for LifeLong Medical Care here in the East Bay. Before that, she held roles at the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, the City of Sacramento, the Sacramento Job Corps, the University of California, Davis, and served two terms of service as an AmeriCorps.

 

Allison Cook (she/her),
Director of Storytelling & Strategy

Allison Cook (she/her),
Director of Storytelling & Strategy

As the Director of Storytelling and Strategy, Allison is responsible for leveraging the mission, values, and differentiating elements of the Women’s Foundation of California to tell the Foundation’s story in an easily understandable, compelling narrative that is personalized for various platforms and audiences. She tracks all content generated through storytelling across departments to maximize the value of work through the philosophy of “create once, publish everywhere” (COPE).

Allison has work independently with clients including the Economic Security Project, the Women’s Foundation of California, and Oakland’s own Homeroom restaurant. Previously, she led the brand and engagement work at The Solutions Project and learned the ropes as a founding member of the Story of Stuff Project.

Allison is a California native who loves living room dance floors and impromptu dinner parties. She takes the work of justice seriously and tries real hard to be a good neighbor. She strives to love generously and read closely.

Kamika Dunlap (she/her),
Chief Strategist, Communications

Kamika Dunlap (she/her),
Chief Strategist, Communications

Kamika is a San Francisco native and brings 20 years of experience in journalism, strategic communications, and government and community relations. As Chief Strategist of Communications, Kamika is responsible for increasing the Foundation’s visibility and recognition as a philanthropic leader and partner in advancing gender, racial and economic justice. Most recently, she served as the Chief of Staff to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley and led multiple policy initiatives and communications strategies to address systematic forms of injustices related to housing, the environment, healthcare and civic-engagement. Prior to joining Supervisor Miley’s team, Kamika held several leadership positions including as Communications Director for Oakland Mayoral Candidate Rebecca Kaplan, as a Staff Writer for the Oakland Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News and Senior Field Representative for Assemblymember Rob Bonta. Kamika received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University and a Masters of Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. Her community involvement includes serving as Vice President and Membership Co-Chair for East Bay Stonewall and as a member of Black Women Organized for Political Power.

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Marisol Franco (she/her),
Director of Programs

Marisol Franco (she/her),
Director of Programs

Marisol Franco is a first generation Mexican/Xicana-identified, intersectional feminist raised in a Los Angeles working class immigrant neighborhood. As the Director of Programs, Marisol is responsible for leading curriculum and program development for the Women’s Policy Institute (WPI)-State, WPI-Local, and Philanthropy and Public Policy Institute. Marisol passionately believes all people have the right to a living wage, healthy community, health care, education, and affordable housing. She also believes that changing the world must also include changing oneself, and thus focuses energy on practicing and integrating transformational leadership and mind-body-spirit approaches.

Previously, Marisol was with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice’s (CLRJ) as the Associate Director of Programs and is also one of its founding members.  In that role, Marisol oversaw CLRJ’s programmatic efforts to ensure alignment and advancement of CLRJ’s mission.  At CLRJ, Marisol promoted Latinas’ reproductive justice by strategizing and working to advance state and federal policy and connecting Latinx communities across California to these policy efforts and decision-makers. Marisol has significant experience in community mobilization and empowerment, including training community leaders, conducting policy analysis, coalition building, organizing advocacy efforts and campaigns on statewide, national and regional issues.  Throughout her work, Marisol has also honed her skills in project management, strategic planning, and fundraising.

Marisol is a Women’s Policy Institute Alum from the class of 2006. In 2009, Marisol was recognized as Emerging Leader of the Year by the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom. In addition, Marisol has participated in various trainings and study groups including, Art Of War with Norma Wong, the Los Angeles Community of Practice, the Midwest Academy “Organizing for Social Change”, and CompassPoint Next Generation Leaders of Color. Marisol graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Latin American Studies.  Marisol can be found making Northern California her new home with her spunky dog, Luna, and dreaming of her next travel adventure.

Stephanie Volkoff Green (she/her),
Chief Strategist, Partnerships

Stephanie Volkoff Green (she/her),
Chief Strategist, Partnerships

As Chief Strategist of Partnerships, Stephanie leads the Foundation’s efforts to engage communities of support to advance gender justice. Throughout her career Stephanie has focused on inspiring communities of support for mission-led organizations. Before joining the Women’s Foundation of California, Stephanie was the Development Manager for Advancement and Planned Giving with Mother Jones where she more than tripled the size of their midlevel giving program, rebranded and relaunched the Legacy Society and spearheaded an interdepartmental effort to more effectively engage the community of donors and subscribers. During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Stephanie was the Canvass Director for Grassroots Campaigns and lead MoveOn’s final get out the vote work in Albuquerque, NM. Stephanie holds a Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas where she was the teaching assistant for former Governor Ann Richards. She received her undergraduate degree from St. Mary’s College of California where she helped to establish the Women’s Resource and Research Center.

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Surina Khan (she/her),
Chief Executive Officer

Surina Khan (she/her),
Chief Executive Officer

Surina is a proud Californian by way of Connecticut and Pakistan. A first generation immigrant, Surina came to the US with her parents and five older siblings in 1973, and has been dedicated to gender, racial, and economic justice issues ever since. As CEO, Surina oversees the Foundation’s strategic direction which is focused on building community-based power through investing in effective community-based organizations, training community leaders in policy advocacy, connecting key partners, and mobilizing significant financial resources. Surina first became involved with WFC as a volunteer in 2004 serving on a grants review committee. She joined the staff in 2005 as a Senior Program Officer and was promoted to Director of Programs and then Vice President of Programs. In 2011 Surina was recruited by the Ford Foundation to design and launch Ford’s LGBT Rights Initiative and went on to become a Director in the Democracy Rights and Justice Program where she shaped more than $30 million in annual grantmaking around the world to expand rights for women, LGBT people, people living with HIV/AIDS, and in the areas of strengthening democratic participation and governance. She returned to WFC as CEO in 2014 and is dedicated to engaging more people to support those who are most impacted by the problems in their community to develop solutions to advance gender, racial, and economic justice. Earlier in her career Surina served as Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (now OutRight Action International) where she worked to advance the human rights of LGBTQI people and people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Prior to that she was a research analyst for Political Research Associates, conducting groundbreaking research on the Right’s attacks on women and LGBT people. Surina serves on several Boards and is currently co-chair of the Board of Directors of Funders for Reproductive Equity. She is also a member of the Board of Voices for Progress, Alliance for Justice, the American LGBTQ Museum, La Cocina, a founding Advisor for the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative, and a member of the Public Policy Committee for Northern California Grantmakers. She previously served on the Boards of numerous organizations including Funders for LGBTQ Issues, Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Outright Action International, and the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. In 2019 Surina graduated from the Leadership that Works Coaching for Transformation program and is a certified professional coach–skills she uses in her life-long quest to lead teams toward actions that advance gender, racial, and economic justice. Surina is a widely recognized expert on gender, racial, and economic justice and a frequent commentator on the power of women’s philanthropy. In 2015, Surina was recognized with a Leaders in Action Award from Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy and in 2017 the South Asian Network recognized Surina with a Community Solidarity Award. Her writing and research have been published widely in print and online publications including the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Philanthropy News Digest.

Jane Lin (she/her),
Institutional Partnerships, Director

Jane Lin (she/her),
Institutional Partnerships, Director

As the Director of Institutional Partnerships, Jane is passionately committed to helping the Foundation organize and move resources for gender justice. She grew up as a 1.5 generation immigrant in Southern California, the middle of 3 daughters of traditional Chinese parents. Much to her keen embarrassment as a kid trying so hard to blend in with everyone else, Jane’s parents spoke only Mandarin at home and in front of her friends. Perhaps not surprisingly, she finds herself doing the exact same thing to her own 2 kids – Alana and Santiago. Watching them navigate between Mandarin, Spanish and English – fills her with immense hope (and occasionally some trepidation) for the country and times they are growing up in.

Most recently Jane was the Global Director of Development at OneSky for all children where she worked to ensure that vulnerable children in the Asia Pacific region had access to nurturing, responsive care and early childhood education. Prior to that she spent more than a decade at Tides Foundation dedicated to advancing economic, environmental and social justice through individual and institutional philanthropic partnerships that were informed by and responsive to communities and activists.

After immigrating from Hong Kong and Taiwan at a young age, Jane grew up in Los Angeles and then Orange County and eventually made her way to the Bay Area for her formative college years at UC Berkeley. She can’t quite imagine ever moving back to the OC and now lives and works in the East Bay with her husband, daughter and son.

Nina Lopez (she/her),
Executive Associate

Nina Lopez (she/her),
Executive Associate

Nina is the Executive Associate supporting the leadership of the Program and Development team at the Women’s Foundation of California. She is responsible for scheduling meetings and travel, and managing operational and logistical tasks. Nina was born and raised in the East Bay. Wanting to explore her love of the arts and her family’s cultural roots, she pursued degrees in History of Art and Visual Culture and Latin American and Latinx Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Her internship at UCSC’s El Centro: Chicanx Latinx Resource Center would inspire a commitment to community-based organizations. She has volunteered and worked for a variety of programs and organizations, including Beach Flats Community Center, Corre la Voz, La Peña Cultural Center, YMCA of San Francisco, and Girls Inc. of Alameda County. Most recently, Nina worked as a paralegal for a private immigration law firm where her primary focus was family visa petitions and family unity and hardship waivers.

Christine Reyes (she/her),
Chief Financial Officer

Christine Reyes (she/her),
Chief Financial Officer

Christine is a finance and operations professional with experience leading national and international organizations. Her approach to the work is to collaboratively design and implement elegant systems and processes that provide reliable and timely information for decision making that drives transformation and innovation. Christine has served in various team leadership roles, most recently as the Director of Finance and Administration for the Coral Reef Alliance where she was responsible for setting strategy and leading financial, human resources, information technology and operational functions for a $4 million organization with 20 staff located across the world. Christine has also held leadership positions in Finance at the Fund for Nonviolence, the Firelight Foundation, and Ecological Concerns, Inc. Christine received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz where she also completed the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Program. Christine is a CPA and a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and is an active member of CompassPoint’s Finance Professionals Network. She participates in the Ecology of Leadership Program and serves as Treasurer of New Music Works and Roatan Marine Park International. Christine is passionate about gender, racial, and social justice and in particular is motivated to use her skills and talents for the advancement of women and girls of color and LGBTQ communities. She is an avid biker, hiker, nature lover, a student of the dharma, and revels in music, dancing, reading, art, poetry and travel.

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Nicola Schulze (she/her),
Communications Manager

Nicola Schulze (she/her),
Communications Manager

Nicola Schulze is a Bay Area native and believes that storytelling is the center of connection, advocacy, and identity. In her role as Communications Manager, she leads the Foundation’s digital communications strategy to strengthen its online presence and engage target audiences. She also works in collaboration with the Development and Programs teams to execute strategic communications campaigns, initiatives, and actions. She has built her career in digital media at the intersection of social justice and human connection. Most recently Nicola worked as communications manager at The Representation Project, a nonprofit founded by the First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom that uses media as a catalyst for cultural transformation. There she led integrated social media campaigns with branded content for the organization’s nine social media channels (five million users weekly).

Nicola attended Occidental College and graduated with a BA in Diplomacy and World Affairs with a Minor in Film &  Media Studies.

 

 

Liza Siegler (she/her),
Director, Individual Partnerships

Liza Siegler (she/her),
Director, Individual Partnerships

Liza brings unique experiences in the philanthropic sector to her work building strong partnerships for gender justice as Director of Individual Partnerships. For five years as Director of Partnerships and Engagement at the Edible Schoolyard Project, she developed sustaining relationships with individual and institutional partners funding a vision for social change through the food system, championed by the organization’s founder, Alice Waters. For ten years prior at Tides Foundation, she worked with a wide range of partners to leverage philanthropic dollars and social capital toward gender, racial, environmental and economic justice. While there, she ran Threshold Foundation, whose core social justice mission is a peer learning and support program rooted in the recognition that those who benefit most from unjust social systems must understand their privilege in order to responsibly leverage their power to effect systemic change. Upon joining the board of Third Wave Foundation (now Third Wave Fund) as a newbie in the philanthropic sector and as a new mom, she discovered a passion for cross-class, multi-racial, intergenerational organizing and fundraising for gender justice. Liza grew up in New York City, where irreverent parents and thirteen years of all-girls schooling formed her feminist worldview. Her BA from the University of Chicago focused on gender and relational autobiography. She now lives in San Francisco with her husband, son and daughter.

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Luisa Tembo (she/her),
Program Assistant, WPI

Luisa Tembo (she/her),
Program Assistant, WPI

As the Program Assistant for the Foundation’s Women’s Policy Institute (WPI), Luisa Tembo is responsible for assisting the Director of Policy Programs and Program Managers on the WPI-Local and WPI State fellowship programs, WPI Alum Networks, and the Funders Policy Institute. Before joining the Foundation, Luisa was a Program Assistant for Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County in their Immigration Legal Services Program, where she received her DOJ Accreditation. Luisa worked on family based petitions and consular processing waivers. As an immigrant woman, Luisa is passionate about advancing immigrant rights and  creating more opportunities for underrepresented populations. She is passionate about social justice issues, political advocacy, and believes in cultivating change through the legislative framework.

Luisa attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo and graduated with a BA in Political Science with a Minor in Ethics, Public Policy, Science and Technology. She was an editor for Cal Poly’s Political Science Journal as she enjoys writing and editing. Luisa enjoys listening to political podcasts as she is very interested in global politics and international relations.

Ari (she/they),
Program Manager, WPI-State

Ari (she/they),
Program Manager, WPI-State

ari is excited to join the Women’s Foundation as Program Manager. She is driven by her belief in equitable access to the arts and racial, gender and spiritual justice for all. The Program Manager is responsible for designing, coordinating and implementing the Foundation’s WPI-State program.

ari first fell in love with events organizing and community building during her time at UC Berkeley. There, she spearheaded several programs for students of color at the Multicultural Community Center, and got her first taste of community building as an events coordinator for the Gender Equity Resource Center. She also dedicated her time to student organizing with the successful #FightforSpaces campaign, securing funding and physical spaces for LGBTQ and Black, Indigenous, students of color for years to come.

She loves sci-fi, forests, the ocean, daydreaming and writing/reading poetry. She is a proud daughter of Peruvian immigrants.

Bia Vieira (she/her),
Chief Strategist, Programs

Bia Vieira (she/her),
Chief Strategist, Programs

Bia Vieira brings more than 20 years of leadership experience ranging from the philanthropic to the nonprofit sectors in gender, racial, economic justice and immigrant rights issues with a variety of constituencies.  She has held leadership positions in a number of philanthropic organizations and affinity groups leading program approaches that include policy, campaigns, research, evaluation, and capacity building. Before joining the Foundation in 2018, Bia was the California Director for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, where she developed and supported coordinated responses to anti-immigrant and refugee policies. Prior to that, Bia was the Vice President of Philanthropic Services for the Philadelphia Foundation where she developed the Foundation’s equity and social justice strategy and provided leadership on growing the Foundation’s asset base through fundraising and developing initiatives for donors to invest in and support the Foundation. Through her consulting practice, Bia led numerous projects including a grantmaking impact evaluation for the Horizons Foundation; a research study for the Global Philanthropy Project on funding mechanisms for African, Latin American, and Asian, LGBTI communities in the Global South and East; and providing technical assistance for trans-Latinx led organizations for AIDS United. Originally from Brazil, Bia is a longtime activist in women’s, LGBTQI, Latino, and arts and culture issues. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish and Anthropology and a Masters Degree in Literature and Linguistics, both from Temple University. She completed the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Research as well as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at Columbia University. In addition to English, Bias is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Huong Nguyen-Yap (she/her),
Director of Community Investment

Huong Nguyen-Yap (she/her),
Director of Community Investment

As the Director of Community Investment, Huong lead our grantmaking and convening strategies. She comes to WFC from Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, where she led the CA Census 2020 Statewide Funders Initiative and the CA Immigrant Integration Initiative. Previously at Asian American Pacific Islanders In Philanthropy (AAPIP), Huong managed the AAPIP National Giving Circle Network. The network of 50 giving circles engaged over 2500 individual philanthropists and award over $2.7M to AAPI organizations across the country. Prior to working in Philanthropy, she led community-based, youth development programs and has experience as a clinical social worker.  Huong is currently a member of the Hella Heart Oakland Giving Circle, focusing on strengthening and improving the health and wellness of Asian/Asian American women and girls in Oakland – particularly refugees and new immigrants.